It’s a college campaign that has garnered national attention. The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill will begin their elections for their student body president on Tuesday and among the favorites is Latino Emilio Vicente.
If elected, Vicente will not only be the first openly gay candidate, he will also be the first undocumented candidate to represent the oldest public university in the nation.
“I think that the conversation on immigration is changing in this state and that’s what I’m looking forward to,” says Vicente. “Should I be in this position, I think that I’d be able to help change that conversation that a lot of us are not criminals, that a lot of us are involved in our community.”
His campaign has brought attention to ongoing immigration issues facing a state that has taken a conservative turn in recent years. Among those issues is granting in-state tuition to the more than 16,000 undocumented students in need of the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA. Nationally, 16 states allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition fees and states like Florida, Missouri and Mississippi are considering doing the same. As for North Carolina – the state has yet to make a legislative decision.
The Alicia Menendez Tonight team took a trip to North Carolina and sat down with Emilio Vicente, the student who is putting a face to this ongoing national debate.